2018 Growing Trends

Story by Dawn Smith

After a long, cold season of being stuck indoors, there is nothing better than purchasing and planting the plants that will make your garden bloom this summer.

And when it comes to garden choices, green thumbs have much to be excited about this year.

According to Rich Oke of Bylands Nurseries, green thumbs can choose from a number of new flowering shrubs this year.

Proven Winners is introducing three new Invincibelle hydrangeas featuring lime, mauve and white flowers this spring. Three new potentillas will also be available; Happy Face, Creme Brulee and Lemon Meringue are sure to brighten gardens with their yellow and white flowers.

The company also has a new variety of ninebark: Ginger Wine features red and purple foliage with flowers ranging from white to pinky-red; and a new lilac, Virtual Violet, which boasts dark purple buds opening to lighter purple flowers.

Rose aficionados will love the latest Oso Easy by Proven Winner: Hot Paprika features reddish orange buds that open to bright orange flowers.

But there are more than just new ornamental shrubs to spruce up your garden, says Oke, explaining fruit trees and bushes remain popular choices.

He notes that hot varieties include the Cherry Romance series; combination trees, which feature several varieties of pears, plums or apples grafted onto one tree; and smaller fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, saskatoons and grapes.

Gardeners are also planting other edibles, such as herbs and vegetables, in growing numbers, says Colleen Fulton, of Fulton’s Home Hardware Building Centre in Airdrie.

“[Growing your own food] promotes healthy eating and pride in growing what you feed yourself and your family,” she says, noting hydroponics, a method of growing plants without soil using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent, is also becoming popular.

Oke notes there is a growing trend toward combining perennials and annuals in hanging baskets and planters. Gardeners also favour patio-table sized bowls, filled with succulents, sedums, weeping maples and lavender.

Fulton says outdoor spaces can be beautiful, no matter the size.

Small spaces can be decorated with planters overflowing with flowers and herbs set beside small bistro sets or space-saving tables and chairs, she says, adding those with larger spaces often choose conversations sets, complete with fire tables or patio heaters to take the chill off cool summer evenings.

Whatever plants and accessories you choose for your outdoor space this year, experts agree that gardens stimulate the senses and promote peace and tranquility.

“I was introduced to gardening at a young age and the love has stayed with me my entire life,” says Fulton.